With reviews that describe the movie variously as “not merely ham-fisted, but pork-shouldered, bacon-wristed, and sausage-elbowed,” (Village Voice), “one of the most unwatchable films in recent memory,” (NY Times), and “excrement” (Guardian), it’s perhaps not surprising that FIFA vanity flick United Passions bombed at the box office on its opening weekend.
But perhaps “bombed” is putting it too kindly. Starring Tim Roth, Sam Neill and Gerard Depardieu, the movie took a humiliating $607 in the U.S., according to data obtained by the Hollywood Reporter. That’s right. Six hundred and seven dollars. One theater in downtown Phoenix reportedly took just $9, in other words, only one person turned up to check the movie out.
United Passions, which opened across the country at just 10 theaters, reportedly cost around $30 million to make, with FIFA putting up most of the money.
The film, whose release comes as the organization is mired in controversy over deep-rooted allegations of corruption, tells the story of soccer’s governing body from its formation more than 100 years ago up until the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. If it thought all publicity was good publicity, it was sorely mistaken.
The Washington Post said the “top-performing theater” for United Passions on its opening weekend was Laemmle’s NoHo 7 in North Hollywood, which sold a whopping $164 worth of tickets, followed by a theater in Hagerstown, near Washington, D.C., which reported ticket receipts of $161. The 110-minute movie, which currently enjoys a 2.3/10 rating on IMDb, has been panned by critics.
While it’s tempting to say that the movie may be able to claw back some of its budget via a DVD release and downloads, the abysmal early box office takings and dire reviews suggest the movie, like the recently arrested FIFA officials, has a real battle ahead of it.
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